School bus and apple cookie cutters have been bumped from the pegboard on the wall to the bakers bench. This coincides with the mass exodus of college bound freshmen/women and the departure of the summer peaches. There's an undercurrent of apples and pumpkins and dare I say, autumn spices. Tube pans and loaf pans are rattling in anticipation of apple cakes and honey cakes. This can only mean September and a brand, spanking new school year.
We are reduced to a skeletal barista crew, fresh faces sporting Sconer t-shirts and unyielding bandanas. Although I have yet to purchase No. 2 pencils and a box of Crayolas, I do have a new locker and a locker buddy. I call my buddy Rita because, well, that’s her name. I think we are going to get along famously since we have opted to forego a lock on the locker. This eliminates any worries concerning numerical combinations. At eight o’clock in the morning it’s enough of a personal challenge simply remembering which of the lockers in the newly renovated bakery basement is mine.
The last time I utilized a locker was in college. Situated in the performing arts building, a wall of metal lockers lined the hallway adjacent to the sprawling bulletin board known as the Callboard. Lockers wound their way past the scene shop, climbed the stairs beyond the costume shop and continued past Vergiu Cornea’s dance studio. My locker housed all the essentials. There was plenty of room for footwear. Thick-soled sneakers snoozed awaiting late night stage crew. Tap shoes echoed kick-ball-change alongside black Capezios and a Danskin leotard.
It was critical that our lockers were impervious to the fickle weather conditions of upstate New York. When the skies were Ithacating, I stashed either a green slicker or a hooded parka in my locker, facilitating a steady drip of rain or snow against metal. The mandatory Bob Kelly Theatrical make-up kit perched at a diagonal, wedged between shoes and coats and Samuel French play scripts. An occasional white bakery bag from the Home Dairy held oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie crumbs or the remnants of an almond crescent. The only way to describe the fragrance trapped behind the slatted metal door was that of a wet dog let loose in a bakery.
Today, there are few items in my shared work locker other than Rita’s work shoes and our respective handbags. The locker smells more of basement than bakery and there’s not a single pair of tap shoes to call my own. As challenging as the transition from summer to fall, this locker thing is going to take a little getting used to.
In many ways, September ushers in the new more than January. Back-to-school opens the floodgates of the holiday season, with barely a pause between pumpkins, turkeys and the pudgy guy in the red suit. I may be getting ahead of myself, but just slightly. In the fleeting moments of summer, I will ply myself with the last hurrah of peaches and corn. This is a time sensitive issue,
the final peach pies, a batch of biscuits spiked with corn. At home, the kitchen resonates with the dwindling fragrance of summer. At the bakery, I shudder at the idea of an onslaught of Number 10 cans busting with pumpkin. My summer reverie is interrupted by the incessant ringing of the bakery phone followed by a pie inquisition. No. No lemon meringue this weekend and absolutely no pumpkin.
Thank goodness I share a locker with a buddy who can help me transition from August to September. Thanks, Rita.
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Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm